Anker SoundCore Life 2 Wireless HEADPHONES REVIEW

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
6.9
Mixed Usage
7.3
Critical Listening
6.8
Commute/Travel
6.8
Sports/Fitness
7.1
Office
6.1
TV
5.8
Gaming
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : Yes
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

The Anker SoundCore Life 2 are decent mixed usage wireless over-ears. They are noise cancelling, but their ANC feature is disappointing, especially for commuting. On the upside, they have a decent audio reproduction and are better suited for bass-heavy genres. They also have a bass boost effect that is easy to use but won't let you know on which setting you are. Their battery life is amazing and will last you around 28 hours. However, like most Bluetooth headphones, their latency might be slightly high for watching videos, but you can use the included audio cable to get rid of it, which is convenient. These headphones are fairly versatile, offer good value, and will be suitable for most users.

Test Results
Design 6.9
Sound 7.3
Isolation 6.7
Microphone 6.8
Active Features 6.3
Connectivity 6.7
Pros
  • Decent audio reproduction.
  • Comfortable fit.
  • Amazing battery life.
Cons
  • Mediocre noise isolation.
  • Not breathable.
  • Bass delivery inconsistencies. Sensitive to glasses.

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Soundcore Life 2
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com
6.9

Design

The Anker SoundCore Life 2 are well-designed headphones that are fairly similar to the Anker SoundCore Space NC. However, the Life 2 have a physical control scheme instead of a touch-sensitive one. They are very comfortable and the ear cup padding is plushy. Unfortunately, their overall design feels a bit more plasticky than the Space NC and they don’t feel as well-built. On the upside, they come with a nice hard case to protect the headphones. While they are stable for sports, they are one of the least breathable headphones we’ve reviewed so far. They become hot quickly and you will feel a noticeable difference in temperature.

Style

The SoundCore Life 2 are decently good looking headphones but have a plasticky feel. They have dense cups and thick-looking hinges as well. Also, the headband and the cups are well-padded. They don’t stand out too much due to their all-black design, and they don’t have any other color schemes.

7.5 Comfort
Weight : 0.58 lbs
Clamping Force
:
1.0 lbs

The SoundCore Life 2 are comfortable and lightweight headphones. The padding on the ear cups is plushy and is very soft. That said, the cups may feel a bit small for bigger ears. The padding on the headband is also comfortable and distributes the weight of the headphones effectively. However, the headband is also very large and, even at the smallest size adjustment, these headphones might be too large for people with smaller heads.

7.3 Controls
Ease of use : Decent
Feedback : Good
Call/Music Control : Yes
Volume Control : Yes
Microphone Control : No
Channel Mixing
:
N/A
Noise Canceling Control : Yes
Talk-Through
:
No
Additional Buttons : Bass Effect

The SoundCore Life 2 have an easy to use control scheme and offers multiple common functionalities like play/pause, manage calls, track skipping, and volume control. On top of that, you also have a dedicated button for the noise cancelling feature. These headphones also have a bass boost that you can trigger by double tapping the middle button twice. The buttons are clicky and offer good feedback, but you don't know on which bass setting you're on.

5.1 Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference : 9.0 C

The SoundCore Life 2 are one of the least breathable headphones we’ve tested so far. The soft and pleather ear padding creates a good seal around your ears, which doesn’t let airflow cool your ears. Heat is trapped under the ear cups, which will make you sweat more than usual. This means they won’t be a great option for sports and you will notice a big difference in temperature, even when casually listening.

6.2 Portability
L : 5.8 "
W : 5.9 "
H : 2.5 "
Volume : 86 Cu. Inches
Transmitter required : N/A

Like the Anker SoundCore Space NC, the headphones are quite bulky and aren’t the easiest to carry around. However, the cups swivel to lay flat, which makes it easier to wear around your neck or to slide in a bag. Also, you can fold them into a more compact format and fit them inside their great carrying case.

8.0 Case
Type : Hard case
L : 8.0 "
W : 6.1 "
H : 2.4 "
Volume : 117 Cu. Inches

The Anker SoundCore Life 2 come with a great hard case. It protects the headphones against physical damage from falls, water exposure, and scratches. There is no wiggling room once the headphones are in the case, which is great. The case doesn’t add too much bulk and can easily be stored in a bag. It also has a pocket to help you carry your accessories and cables.

7.0 Build Quality

The SoundCore Life 2 are mostly made out of plastic, and their overall feel is slightly cheaper than the similarly designed SoundCore Space NC. The hinges feel plasticky and hollow, which could be a weak point of the overall build. On the upside, the headband is reinforced by a metal sheet and the padding used on the headphones isn’t stiff. The cups are fairly dense and should still survive an accidental drop without too much damage.

7.0 Stability

The SoundCore Life 2 are fairly stable headphones, so you could jog with them. They have a good clamping force and they fit nicely on the head, but their design isn’t really suited for sports. Also, if you have a smaller head, the headphones may not have a secure fit and will wobble around easily, especially during physical activity. On the upside, their wireless design gets rid of the risk of the headphones being yanked off if a cable were to get stuck on something.

Cable
Detachable : Yes
Length : 4.0 ft
Connection : 1/8" TRRS

The Anker SoundCore Life 2 come with a 4-foot long 1/8” TRRS audio cable and a micro-USB charging cable.

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Headshots 1
Headshots 2
7.3

Sound

The Anker SoundCore Life 2 are decent-sounding closed-back over-ear headphones. They have an extended and powerful bass, a flat and even mid-range, and a well-balanced treble. However, their bass is slightly thumpy, which some may like, but it is prone to inconsistencies across multiple users. Their mid-range is slightly underemphasized, which makes the vocals and leads sound thin. Also, their treble is slightly uneven. Overall, these headphones will be better suited for bass-heavy genres and won’t be ideal for vocal-centric music. They are still versatile, and most users should be satisfied with them.

These headphones were tested with the BassUp feature disabled.

7.9 Bass
Std. Err.
:
3.18 dB
Low-Frequency Extension
:
10 Hz
Low-Bass
:
4.39 dB
Mid-Bass
:
3.76 dB
High-Bass
:
-1.22 dB

The Life 2’s bass is good. Their LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 10Hz, and low-bass is overemphasized by more than 4dB. This indicates a deep and extended bass with quite a bit of excess thump and rumble. Mid-bass, responsible for the body of bass guitars and kick of drums is also overemphasized by about 4dB. Overall, their bass is quite heavy and thumpy, without being boomy, and it may please fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop due to their excess thump. You can also enable their BassUp feature by double tapping the middle button.

Also, their bass delivery varies across users, and is sensitive to the quality of the fit, seal, and whether you wear glasses. The response here represents the average bass response and your experience may vary.

8.0 Mid
Std. Err.
:
2.73 dB
Low-Mid
:
-3.84 dB
Mid-Mid
:
-1.66 dB
High-Mid
:
-1.03 dB

Their mid-range performance is great. The response throughout the range is flat and even, but it is entirely underemphasized. A 4dB dip in low-mid will make vocals and lead instruments sound thin, and the slight recess in mid-mid will nudge them to the back of the mix.

8.6 Treble
Std. Err.
:
2.81 dB
Low-Treble
:
-0.58 dB
Mid-Treble
:
0.33 dB
High-Treble
:
-2.55 dB

The treble of the Life 2 is great. The overall response is fairly flat but slightly uneven. This results in some S and T sounds lacking a bit of detail, and others may feel sharp and piercing for some. Not everyone will hear them as sibilant as others.

6.0 Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
:
0.92 dB

The Anker SoundCore 2 have a mediocre frequency response consistency performance. These headphones are prone to consistency issues throughout, especially in the bass range. The maximum variance measured across our five human subjects was more than 10dB at 20Hz, which is noticeable. We also noticed that certain types of glasses could break the seal on these headphones and cause a drop in bass. However, the other test subjects had a fairly consistent bass delivery. In the treble range, the maximum amount of deviation below 10KHz, is about 9dB, indicating that these headphones' treble delivery is rather sensitive to positioning.

8.0 Imaging
Weighted Group Delay
:
0.29
Weighted Amplitude Mismatch
:
0.14
Weighted Frequency Mismatch
:
2.2
Weighted Phase Mismatch
:
16.74

These headphones have great imaging. Their weighted group delay (GD) is 0.29, which is very good. The GD graph shows that their group delay is almost entirely under the audibility threshold. This ensures a tight bass and a transparent treble reproduction. Also, the L/R drivers of our test unit were well-matched in frequency and amplitude, but showed a slight mismatch in phase response. This is important for accurate placement and localization of objects, such as footsteps and instruments, in the stereo field. However, these results are only valid for our unit, and yours may perform differently. The the subtle mismatch in phase won't be audible to most.

5.4 Soundstage
PRTF Accuracy (Std. Dev.)
:
2.68 dB
PRTF Size (Avg.)
:
5.41 dB
PRTF Distance
:
6.81 dB
Openness
:
3.7
Acoustic Space Excitation
:
2.9
Correlated Crosstalk
:
0.0 dB

The soundstage of the Anker SoundCore Life 2 is sub-par. They show a decent amount of PRTF accuracy and activation, which should translate into a relatively large soundstage. However, there is no notch around the 10KHz region, suggesting a soundstage that is perceived to be located inside-the-head, as opposed to in front. Also, because of the closed-back design and ANC, they tend to sound less open than open-back headphones.

6.3 Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
:
8.345
Weighted THD @ 100
:
17.762

The total harmonic distortion performance of these headphones is mediocre. The THD in the bass range is slightly elevated, but there is no big jump under heavier loads, which is good. The THD is also quite high in the mid-range, and there are a few spikes in the treble range, which will make those frequencies harsh and impure.

6.7

Isolation

The isolation performance of the Anker SoundCore Life 2 is okay. Even if they are ANC headphones, they don’t do that great of a job at blocking lower frequency noises like engine rumbles, meaning they won’t be ideal for commuting. However, they isolate well against work environments noise such as ambient chatter and A/C noises, so they’ll be suitable for the office. Also, they don’t leak too much, so you might be able to block even more noise by raising your volume without disturbing people.

6.3 Noise Isolation
Isolation Audio
:
Overall Attenuation
:
-19.45 dB
Bass
:
-7.21 dB
Mid
:
-15.35 dB
Treble
:
-36.39 dB
Self-Noise
:
23.47 dB

The Anker SoundCore Life 2 have a mediocre isolation performance. With the ANC (active noise cancellation) enabled, they achieve about 7dB of isolation in the bass range, which is disappointing. This means they won’t do a great job at blocking out the rumble of airplane and bus engines. In the mid-range, important for blocking out ambient speech, they isolate by 15dB, which is good. In the treble range, occupied by sharp sounds like S and Ts and fan noises like A/C systems, they isolate by 36dB, which is also good. If you want similar headphones that isolate more, look at the Anker SoundCore Space NC, the TaoTronics TT-BH060 or the Mixcder E9.

7.5 Leakage
Leakage Audio
:
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
:
37.1 dB

The leakage performance of the SoundCore Life 2 is good. The significant portion of leakage sits between 400Hz and 5KHz, which is a relatively broad range. This results in a leakage that sounds fuller and more comprehensible than the leakage of in-ears and earbuds, but not as much as open-back headphones. However, the overall level of leakage is not too loud. With the music at 100dB SPL, the leakage at 1 foot away averages at 37dB SPL and peaks at 47dB SPL, which is just under the noise floor of most offices.

6.8

Microphone

Integrated
:
Yes
In-line
:
Yes
Boom
:
No
Detachable Boom
:
N/A

The integrated microphone of the Anker SoundCore Life 2 is okay. Speech recorded or transmitted with the mic will sound thin and noticeably muffled. On the upside, it should still be understandable in quiet environments. However, it doesn’t fare well in noisy environments and will struggle to separate speech from background noise in moderately loud environments, such as a busy street. These headphones also have an in-line microphone on the included audio cable. We expect this mic to perform slightly better than the integrated one.

6.6 Recording Quality
Recorded Speech
:
LFE
:
261.43 Hz
FR Std. Dev.
:
3.31 dB
HFE
:
3466.89 Hz
Weighted THD
:
7.413
Gain
:
42.91 dB

The recording quality of the SoundCore Life 2’s integrated microphone is okay. LFE (low-frequency extension) is at 261Hz, which means transmitted/recorded speech with this mic will sound noticeably thin. The HFE (high-frequency extension) of 3.5KHz indicates speech that lacks detail and is noticeably muffled. This will have a negative effect on the intelligibility of speech, but it should still be understandable in quiet environments.

7.0 Noise Handling
Speech + Pink Noise :
Speech + Subway Noise :
SpNR
:
20.68 dB

The noise handling of the integrated mic is passable. In our SpNR test, it achieved a speech-to-noise ratio of about 21dB. This makes this microphone suitable mostly for quiet environments, and not great for moderate and loud environments as it will have difficulty separating ambient noise from actual speech.

6.3

Active Features

The Anker SoundCore Life 2 have a great battery life that will last you long enough for a full workday or for the longest flights. They won’t need daily charging, which is great. They can also be used passively, even if the battery is dead. However, they don’t have a companion app to enhance your user experience.

7.0 Battery
Battery Type
:
Rechargable
Battery Life
:
28.3 hrs
Charge Time
:
2.5 hrs
Power Saving Feature
:
No
Audio while charging
:
No
Passive Playback
:
Yes

The SoundCore Life 2’s battery is great. You get over 28 hours of continuous playback with a 2 and a half hour charge time. They offer more battery life than the Space NC and take less time to charge fully, which is great. You can also use them passively with the included audio cable, even if the battery is dead. You can also use the ANC feature while wired, but only if there’s battery left.

0 App Support
App Name : N/A
iOS : N/A
Android : N/A
Mac OS : N/A
Windows : N/A
Equalizer
:
N/A
ANC control
:
N/A
Mic Control : N/A
Room effects
:
N/A
Playback control
:
N/A
Button Mapping : N/A
Surround Sound : N/A

Anker doesn’t have a mobile or PC app to give you customization options or controls.

6.7

Connectivity

The Anker SoundCore Life 2 are wireless headphones that can also be used wired, even if the battery is dead, which is convenient. They also have an amazing wireless range and slightly lower latency than most Bluetooth headphones. Also, with their audio cable, you also get mic support on most platforms and can completely get rid of the delay when watching videos.

6.0 Bluetooth
Bluetooth Version
:
4.1
Multi-Device Pairing
:
No
NFC Pairing
:
No

These headphones are Bluetooth compatible. However, they can only connect to one device at a time and don’t support NFC for a quicker and easier pairing procedure.

9.1 Wired
OS Compatibility
:
Not OS specific
Analog Audio
:
Yes
USB Audio
:
No
PS4 Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
Xbox One Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone
PC Compatible
:
Audio + Microphone

You can use the included 1/8” TRRS audio cable to use these headphones with any platform that has the appropriate audio jack. You’ll also be able to use their in-line microphone.

0 Base/Dock
Type
:
N/A
Optical Input
:
N/A
Line In
:
N/A
Line Out
:
N/A
USB Input
:
N/A
RCA Input
:
N/A
PS4 Compatible
:
N/A
Xbox One Compatible
:
N/A
PC Compatible
:
N/A
Power Supply
:
N/A
Dock Charging
:
N/A

The Anker Soundcore Life 2 do not have a dock.

9.3 Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
:
64 ft
Line of Sight Range
:
153 ft

The Life 2's wireless range is amazing. With 64ft of distance when the source is obstructed by walls, you will be able to walk around a small office or go to the room next door without getting too many audio cuts. You shouldn’t have any problems if you keep your audio source on or even near you. However, the wireless range is very dependent on your device’s signal strength and many other factors, so your experience may vary.

4.3 Latency
Default Latency
:
149 ms
aptX Latency
:
N/A
aptX(LL) Latency
:
N/A

With 149ms of delay, the SoundCore Life 2 have slightly less latency than most Bluetooth headphones, which is good. Some may still notice a small delay between audio and video while watching TV or any video content. On the upside, some devices and apps seem to offer some sort of compensation, so you might not notice the delay as much. You can also use the headphones with the audio cable to get rid of the latency.

In the box

  • Anker SoundCore Life 2 headphones
  • 1/8" TRRS audio cable
  • Micro-USB charging cable
  • Carrying case
  • Manuals

Compared to other Headphones

The Anker SoundCore Life 2 are decent closed-back headphones that set themselves apart by the value they offer and their amazing 28-hour battery life. Unfortunately, their ANC isn’t the best and their large headband might be too large for people with smaller heads. See our recommendations for the best headphones, the best noise cancelling headphones under $100 and the best wireless headphones.

Anker SoundCore Space NC Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Anker SoundCore Life 2 and the Anker SoundCore Space NC are very similar headphones in design. However, the main difference between the two is sound. The Life 2 have a more balanced and flat frequency response while the Space NC have overemphasized bass and a recessed mid-range, which is better suited for bass-heavy genres. The Life 2 also offer more battery life and take less time to charge, but this may be due to the better noise cancelling performance of the Space NC. The Space NC are more versatile since they block a good amount of noise while commuting and at the office.

Mpow H10 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Mpow H10 are slightly better headphones than the Anker SoundCore Life 2 thanks to their better performance against ambient noise. They are better suited for commuting and to use at the office, which makes them slightly more comfortable. On the other hand, the Life 2’s sound signature is more suited for fans of bass and you can also boost it with the bass effect command. They also leak less than the H10 and have an in-line mic.

TaoTronics TT-BH060 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The TaoTronics TT-BH060 are better ANC headphones than the Anker SoundCore Life 2 Wireless and will be better suited for commuting. They are well-built headphones, especially since they are quite comfortable and affordable. They have more battery life, but on the other hand, our unit has mismatched drivers. Because of this, the Life 2 might be the better sounding option.

Cowin E7 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Anker SoundCore Life 2 are better headphones than the Cowin E7. They are noticeably more comfortable and slightly better-built. Their sound quality is also better and more accurate. On the other hand, the Cowin don’t get as hot as the Life 2 after use, but they don’t have an in-line microphone like the Life 2 have. Their build feels plasticky and their glossy finish is fingerprint-prone.

Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Anker SoundCore Life 2 are better and more versatile headphones than the Skullcandy Hesh 3. They outperform the Skullcandy headphones in pretty much every category. They sound better, are more comfortable, and isolate more ambient noise due to their ANC feature, although it isn’t the best. They offer longer battery life and an in-line mic, which the Hesh 3 is lacking. On the other hand, the Hesh 3 don’t get as hot as the Life 2 and they feel more stable once on your head.

Mixcder E9 Wireless
SEE PRICE
Amazon.com

The Mixcder E9 Wireless and Anker Soundcore Life 2 Wireless are two decent budget headphones. The E9 are a better option when you want a balanced and neutral sound, but the Life 2 will be better for fans of bass. Isolation-wise, the E9 has a slight upper hand, especially in the bass range isolation, which is good for commuting. On the other hand, the Life 2 has a better continuous battery life and have an in-line microphone, which the E9 lacks.

+ Show more

Conclusion

6.9 Mixed Usage

Decent for mixed usage. These headphones have a decent sound quality that's better suited for bass-heavy genres. They are comfortable enough for long listening sessions and their ANC feature does an okay job at isolating ambient noise while commuting and at the office. They have an amazing battery life and wireless range. However, like most Bluetooth headphones, their latency might be slightly too high for gaming and watching video content. This can be eliminated by using the included audio cable.

7.3 Critical Listening

Decent for critical listening. The Anker SoundCore Life 2 have an extended and powerful bass, a flat and even mid-range, and a well-balanced treble. However, their bass is slightly thumpy, which some may like, and it's prone to inconsistencies across multiple users. Their mid-range is slightly underemphasized, which makes the vocals and leads thick-sounding. Also, their treble is slightly uneven. Overall, these headphones will be better suited for bass-heavy genres and won’t be ideal for vocal-centric music. Fans of bass can also enable their BassUp feature by double tapping the middle button.

6.8 Commute/Travel

Okay for commuting. They are noise cancelling headphones, but they don’t do the best job at isolating against lower frequency noises like engine rumbles. On the upside, their battery will last you for the longest rides or flights without a problem. You can also use them wired if you want to watch video content while on-the-go to get rid of the Bluetooth latency. Their bulky design might not be ideal to carry around, but they’ll be comfortable to wear for a while.

6.8 Sports/Fitness

Okay for sports. They have a fairly secure fit once on the head, but won’t be suitable for most intense sports. Also, these headphones get quite hot and don’t allow for much airflow, meaning you will sweat more than usual. On the upside, their extra bass effect can keep you pumped during your workouts, which some may prefer.

7.1 Office

Decent for the office. The Anker SoundCore Life 2 do a good job at isolating against ambient chatter and they don’t leak too much so you shouldn’t bother surrounding colleagues. Their design is comfortable to wear for a few hours, but they do tend to get warm. However, this shouldn’t be a problem if you take them off from time to time. On the upside, their long battery life will be more than enough during a full workday and won’t need daily charging.

6.1 TV

Mediocre for watching TV. While the Anker SoundCore Life 2 are comfortable to wear for a while and you’ll be able to watch from the comfort of your couch, their latency might be a bit too high for watching video content. However, the delay is lower than most Bluetooth headphones, so you might not notice as much, especially since some devices and apps offer some sort of compensation. You can also get rid of latency issues with a wired connection, but you might need an extension cable.

5.8 Gaming

Sub-par for gaming. Their latency will be too high for gaming and their microphone isn’t the greatest for online games. However, if you use them wired, you won’t have latency issues and we expect their in-line microphone to be slightly better than the integrated one. It won’t perform as well as a gaming headset boom microphone and the headset won’t be as customizable.

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